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This article was published 17/11/2017 (699 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Legal cannabis producer Delta 9 Cannabis has received Health Canada’s conditional approval to expand its Winnipeg facility.
Delta 9 cultivates its crop inside individual "grow pods," which are retrofitted shipping containers. The expansion will add 143 pods to the current 15 pods.
"It’s a big step up for us," said Delta 9 CEO John Arbuthnot. "We’re looking to do 600 (pods) ultimately, so it’s only a fraction of that, but it really solidifies, I think, our path forward over the next eight to 12 months."
The regulatory approval process for the 143 new pods has been underway for the last two to three months, said Arbuthnot. After the units are installed and measures such as security and odour control have been put in place, Delta 9 still needs Health Canada’s approval to start growing marijuana in the pods.
Each pod contains almost 30 square metres of growing space, enough to house 15 lights and from 240 to 350 marijuana plants. The company expects each pod to yield an average of 31.5 kilograms of cannabis annually.
Currently, Delta 9 is licensed to sell its harvest to medical cannabis users who have registered with Health Canada. After legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes, Delta 9 and other licensed producers will be able to sell their product to provincial cannabis distribution systems.
Delta 9 recently went public on the TSX Venture Exchange. After the Manitoba government announced Nov. 7 that the private sector will be responsible for retailing cannabis in the province, Delta 9 unveiled its plan to apply for that opportunity in partnership with Canopy Growth Corp.
Manitoba’s other licensed cannabis producer, Bonify, received its cultivation licence from Health Canada in April. Bonify is currently growing test crops at its Winnipeg facility as it works towards receiving a sales licence from the federal regulator.
"We continue to work very closely with the regulators to progress towards sales licensure," said Karen Debroni, Bonify’s director of business development and administration.
Legalization of cannabis for recreational use is expected next summer. Although Ottawa originally announced a deadline of "no later than July 2018," a July 1 launch date appears to be off the table.
Speaking in the House of Commons Nov. 9, Conservative MP Gérard Deltell decried the idea that Canada Day 2018 could be the first day of legalized cannabis.
"I will be proud to sing O Canada, but I will never sing O Cannabis on July 1," quipped Deltell.
In response, Liberal MP Bill Blair said "the date of enactment will not be July 1, that’s Canada Day, a day that’s special to all Canadians."
"I can say with great assurance that that will not be that day," said Blair.
Solomon Israel is the full-time cannabis reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press and its national cannabis news website, TheLeafNews.com. He covers the social, legal, medical and scientific aspects of marijuana legalization in Manitoba and the rest of Canada.